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Autobiography from the Civil Rights Movement

By Audrey Golden. Jan 31, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature, History

Have you been following news about civil rights activism on social media and in your community? Are you wondering more about how current protests for equality have ties to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in America, as well as similar movements in other parts of the world? We want to say up front that we couldn’t possible write about, in a short article, all of the significant biographies and autobiographies that concern leaders of civil rights and freedom movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With that being said, we have selected a handful of texts that we think are not only important to read, but also offer interesting and distinct modes of autobiography from the Civil Rights Movement.

     
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A Brief History of the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has been around nearly as long as the United States of America. Approve by President John Adams in 1800, the goal of the library was to solve a problem when the government moved from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. Namely, in Philadelphia, congressmen had access to the well-stocked Free Library of Philadelphia. Their concern was that the burgeoning new capital was still under development, and in D.C., members of Congress would lack access to books outside their own personal collection. The Act of Congress allocated $5,000 to stock the library, which today would be roughly $92,000. The books assembled, nearly 750 of them, were inspired by the classical education most of the founding fathers possessed and therefore included papers on theology, philosophy, government, history, and languages.

     
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Five Interesting Facts About Virginia Woolf

By Adrienne Rivera. Jan 26, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature

English writer Virginia Woolf is widely considered one of the most important modernist and feminist writers. She was successful in her own time with her writing as well as through her work for education reform. She and her husband, Leonard, also ran the publishing house Hogarth. But she gained her status as an icon in the 1970s during the third wave of feminism. Since then, her name has become synonymous with the movement and her work, including her most famous novel, Mrs. Dalloway, has been translated into over fifty languages. Here are some interesting facts about Woolf.

     
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A Brief History of Robots in Literature

By Matt Reimann. Jan 25, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book History, Science Fiction

The Czech writer Karel Čapek introduced the world to the word robot, by way of his play, RUR, (Rossum’s Universal Robots) in 1920. The name, deriving from robotnik, Czech for “forced worker,” has been used since by countless high-minded writers and storytellers to answer two principal questions: What would civilization look like if androids liberated humans from the work they perform today? And would these androids ever be exploited by their creators, or develop competing interests of their own? Though some authors, of course, have been less ambitious, answering the more simple question: What if a character happened to be made out of nuts, bolts, and software, or perhaps synthetic flesh?

     
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New Poetry from Wesleyan University Press

By Audrey Golden. Jan 24, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Pulitzer Prize, Awarded Books

Many university presses across the country publish poetry collections, but few university presses are as notable for their poetry publications as Wesleyan University. The Wesleyan University Press began its work in 1957, and although it focuses on a relatively broad range of subjects—from poetry to music and dance to Connecticut history and culture—it is perhaps best known for its important contributions to new poetry and poetics. As the press explains, it has “published an internationally renowned poetry series, collecting five Pulitzer Prizes, a Bollingen, and two National Book Awards in that one series alone.”

What books from the press should you seek out for your poetry collection?

     
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Collecting Editions of The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats

By Leah Dobrinska. Jan 20, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Book Collecting

John Keats is now largely considered one of the most influential poets of the early nineteenth century. He wrote poetry for only six years and published for only four years before his untimely death from tuberculosis in 1821. The final volume of poetry Keats lived to see published, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, is considered one of the most important collections of poems ever to be published, according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. What follows are some noteworthy editions to consider adding to your Keats collection.

     
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Book Collecting: Taschen’s Limited Letterpress Edition of The Fire Next Time

By Audrey Golden. Jan 19, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, American Literature

James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time (1963) was published for the first time over 50 years ago. To commemorate its original publication, and to remind readers of its continued significance in the twenty-first century, Taschen released a letterpress edition of the book, which includes more than 100 photographs taken by Steve Schapiro. As a photographer for Life magazine, Schapiro traveled through the American South with Baldwin and captured images from the Civil Rights movement, including pictures from Selma and from the March on Washington. In addition to Baldwin’s texts and Schapiro’s photos, this letterpress edition of The Fire Next Time also includes an introduction from U.S. Congressman John Lewis, who marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 while serving as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The edition also contains some of Schapiro’s stories from his travels with Baldwin, as well as an essay by Baldwin’s sister, Gloria Baldwin Karefa-Smart.

     
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Collecting Rudyard Kipling? Don't Overlook These Titles

By Leah Dobrinska. Jan 18, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Book Collecting

Rudyard Kipling remains a polarizing figure. As we’ve written before, his favor among his countrymen and literary critics has ebbed and flowed as societal and cultural norms have shifted. A Nobel laureate who has been referred to as everything from “a complete man of genius” by Henry James to “morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting” by George Orwell, Kipling at least merits our study. And for many, his works are highly-sought after collectibles.

     
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Ten Books to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day

By Andrea Diamond. Jan 15, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, History

In the United States on the third Monday of every January, we have the opportunity to come together as a nation and celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. In the midst of the chaos and oppression that accompanied the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. rose above hate and violence to guide a broken nation toward a future where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” As our country once again navigates divisiveness, we are faced with two choices: to be silent, or to lean into the discomfort and work for change. To celebrate this important holiday and find inspiration for continuing King’s work, consider these ten books.

     
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Boxcar Press, Letterpress, and Fine Press Bookmaking

By Audrey Golden. Jan 12, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Fine Press, Book Making

For many authors and illustrators, the ability to make your own book is quite appealing. If you’re interested in collecting fine press objects or bookmaking through the art of letterpress, what are your options? One of the more interesting possibilities for contemporary authors who want to pursue letterpress comes from Boxcar Press. Unlike other presses, Boxcar Press isn’t always printing books (although it does have printing capabilities). Instead, it’s making polymer plates for letterpress bookmakers and broadside artists who are interested in modern fine press. We’ll tell you a little bit more about the polymer plates that Boxcar Press makes, and then we’ll tell you about some of the great resources it offers to those who are new to letterpress as well as those who have been doing letterpress for quite awhile.

     
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Visiting the Charles Dickens House and Museum in London

By Audrey Golden. Jan 11, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Literary travel

If you’re traveling to London anytime soon and are an avid reader or collector of nineteenth-century British literature, why not plan a stop at the former home of Charles Dickens? We’re willing to guess that you’ve read at least one of Dickens’s novels, if not many of them. While he also wrote a number of works of nonfiction, drama, and poetry, Dickens is known best for his fiction (and largely his novels). You’ve probably read, or seen a film adaptation, of the novella A Christmas Carol (1843), in addition to reading novels such as The Pickwick Papers (1837), Oliver Twist (1839), David Copperfield (1850), Bleak House (1853), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861). Dickens is, perhaps, one of the most widely read English-language authors of the nineteenth century, and for Dickens' collectors or fans, it’s actually pretty easy to make a stop at his family home, which is now a museum that’s open to visitors.

     
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89 Years Ago Today Tintin Made His First Print Appearance

By Brian Hoey. Jan 10, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Illustrators, illustrations

Following their first appearance in Le Petit Vingtième on January 10, 1929, The Tintin comics (1929-1986), which were originally created by the Belgian illustrator Georges Remi under the pseudonym Hergé, grew from a work of kid-friendly anti-Soviet propaganda to a globally recognizable phenomenon. Today, the comics retain a strong cult following on the strength of their warm-hearted plot lines, gentle wit, and beloved characters, from the titular Tintin and his canine companion Snowy, to Captain Haddock, to the incompetent, barely distinguishable detectives Thomson and Thompson, and many others.  

     
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Philip Roth, Philip K. Dick, and the Man in the High Castle

By Audrey Golden. Jan 6, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, American Literature

What would our world look like if the Axis powers had won World War II? How would our daily lives have been transformed if the United States had been sympathetic to Nazi Germany? Posing “what if” questions about World War II and its aftermath has been popular among some of America’s most widely read authors. Notably, both Philip K. Dick and Philip Roth have imagined alternate histories in which Nazi Germany won the war. While the series The Man in the High Castle takes its title and storyline directly from Dick’s novel of the same name, we’d like to explore the literary precursors to the show and to consider the ways in which writers wield great power in the writing (and rewriting) of our histories.

     
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Waiting for Godot in Popular Culture

By Adrienne Rivera. Jan 5, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners, Drama

Nobel Prize winning poet, playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1906. He studied English, French, and Italian at Trinity College before accepting a position at Campbell College where he taught for some years and also developed a friendship with fellow Irish writer James Joyce. It was at this time that be published his first work, an essay discussing Joyce's body of work. But his most famous work is undoubtedly the play, Waiting for Godot. If you haven't seen it, chances are you've seen it referenced in some unique ways.

     
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Beyond the Shire: Four Fun Facts About J.R.R. Tolkien

By Adrienne Rivera. Jan 3, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Movie Tie-Ins, J. R. R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien is widely considered the father of modern high fantasy. The Hob bit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy have captivated readers since their original publication and created a boom in popularity for the genre. Tolkien's influence could be seen in fiction published shortly after the release of his masterpiece trilogy, and it is still being felt today. With the popularity of Peter Jackson's film adaptations of both The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tolkien's most famous works have reached an even larger audience. Even people who aren't fans of fantasy fiction have a cursory familiarity with the legendary author and the characters that populate Middle Earth. Though Tolkien may be a household name, here are some interesting details about the life of the man behind the epic.
     
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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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